Help! Business travel as a new parent??

As my due date approaches, I can’t help but wonder what traveling for work will be like once I’m a parent. Will it be harder? More stressful? What kind of things will I have to worry about that I don’t now? Will I resent all the time away, or be grateful for uninterrupted sleep? One thing is for sure—I know it will be different. (Pictured: Business travel–not something they talk about in What to Expect!! Available at Amazon)

So I have a question for readers who are parents, and therefore have experience with this. How has being a parent affected your business travel? Do you have any tips for making it work?

There are so many anxieties about becoming a mom. Thanks for your help figuring out how to address this one!

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Comments

  1. First, so excited for you that your date is getting so close! Second, as you know, it will change everything…including (especially) business travel. Based on my experience, you will feel guilty, the partner left behind will be exhausted from being a “single parent”, you will miss out on “firsts” (I missed my daughter walking), and it will make it harder to get into a good rhythm with your new family.

    However…it will also give you a chance to rest and feel like an adult instead of just a “mom” who lives in ponytails and pajama pants. It will allow you to earn points to take your family on vacation. It allows you to earn a paycheck to provide for your family. 😉 It will help your kiddo be more flexible with their schedule and caregiver(s). You will become a professional Skyper. You will appreciate the time you have at home that much more.

    It is hard, but there are pros/cons to that lifestyle. My only real advice is to limit the travel as much as you possibly can for a while, and don’t make uninterrupted sleep in a hotel bed sound too luxurious to the partner left behind. 😉

  2. For me, the hardest thing about being gone was breastfeeding. My body & the pump didn’t really get along, so I could never quite keep up with demand. I didn’t travel much with my first baby, but I was in graduate school a few nights a week & some weekends, so it was a similar situation for a period of time. Luckily, my grad school was at a women’s college, so they had a lovely nursing room to use. I would pump during class breaks. For the few day-long weekend classes I took, my husband would bring the baby to campus & I would feed him & hang out with them on my lunch break. I have to say, it really created a strong bond between my husband & the baby because he was fully in charge when I was in class.

    My 2nd son refused to take a bottle ever (NEVER EVER) so we struggled along with night nursing to catch up. I had changed jobs within my company at that point and was working with a remote team, so I had more flexibility to pick him up early from daycare (around 4:30), nurse, go back to work for a while, eat dinner, nurse more, etc. It was very, very exhausting, though. I did have to contemplate weaning him early when a business trip came up, but it luckily got rescheduled due to external factors & by the time I went, he had weaned on his own.

    I did have a colleague who had to wean her baby earlier than she wanted because she had to take a trip to a developing country & not only would she be gone for an extended period of time (2 weeks, I think), but the medications she was supposed to take (malaria, etc.) were not recommended for breastfeeding. She was OK with it because her baby was eating solid foods by that point, but it was still a hard decision.

    I’ve been on the flip side of business travel lately, with my husband out of the country a LOT since April (it’s finally slowed down). I have to say, it’s really, really hard to be completely alone with the kids 24/7 (minus the time I’m working at my own job).

  3. First of all congrats on becoming a mom! I have a unique situation where I live in CA and work in HI, which means a lot of back and forth travel. I primarily work from home, but about every 6-8 weeks I have to go over to the islands for work. Luckily enough, I get to bring my kiddo (now 6 months old) along with me. He’s a great little traveler, and is yet to make even a peep on the airplane. He hasn’t had any ear problems which I guess is common with the little guys, but we always make sure to give him a bottle or a binky during takeoff and landing just in case, if he is not sleeping. He loves all the attention people give him and I think he just likes being out in the world. Yeah, it is a pain toting along all the extra stuff (to include a huge check-in bag with the pack-and-play), but it is kinda fun too being able to share my love of travel with my son starting at such an early age. I definitely recommend getting the baby their own seat if you ever travel with him/her; you both will be much more comfortable!

    I also mileage run as a hobby to help top off the mileage account so we can afford to travel to see my in-laws overseas. My first overnight run away from the baby (at about 3 months) was a little tough, as I was still exclusively breastfeeding, but after almost 10 months of being pregnant and another 3 tending to a little one, it felt good to escape reality for a day! Actually, it felt great! My biggest mistake though was toting along all my breast pumping equipment, ice packs, storage bottles, etc. on my first trip. It was a total pain, and after passing through non-breastfeeding friendly airports like LAX and EWR and having no choice but to pump in dirty airport restrooms, I was so disgusted I ended up dumping out all the milk when I got home anyway. On future solo trips I just packed a small hand pump and dumped along the way which was much more convenient (and much quieter if you are forced to pump when someone else is in a restroom stall next to you).

    So far I’ve made 2 overnight trips and one day trip without the baby and 3 trips with him, and aside from the breastfeeding issue, all have gone very smoothly. I think it is important as a new mom to have some time away from your baby and not feel guilty about it. At least in my case, I have come home from trips refreshed and rejuvenated (even after spending the night on the redeye) and ready to be a better mom. Every time I couldn’t wait to get away, but then I ended up missing the little guy and was just as excited to get back home.

    I’m lucky I have a great support system at home and my husband loves spending time with the baby on days when he is home from work. At first I felt bad leaving the 2 of them alone for more than 24 hours, but I got over it and on the flip side I had the baby for 8 days on my own (and traveled with him to Wyoming and back to visit my family) while my husband made a trip to India to visit his family. I was pretty anxious about it going in (both being alone with him for that long and then having to fly with him by myself), but it turned out to not be that bad. We are blessed to have such a great kid.

    The best advice I can give you about becoming a mom is to go about it with an open mind. It is undoubtedly the biggest life-changing experience you will ever encounter, but try and be patient and flexible and you’ll adjust in no time!

  4. Mrs Vicente says the pumping was a big drag while travelling. Airplane and public restrooms? Gah! On the plus side she liked a LOT taking the time off from the kiddo. Don’t worry, be happy!

  5. First of all, this may be hard to believe when you’re so eagerly anticipating the arrival of your new one, or when you can’t stand to be away from your newborn for even an hour, but there will come a day when you look forward to a (short) business trip. Because a business trip will mean:
    1. uninterrupted sleep
    2. going to work without worrying there may be spit-up on the back of your blouse
    3. using the bathroom without interruption
    (When I was pregnant with my first child someone told me this and I couldn’t believe it could ever be true but it is!)

    My children are now 17 and 9 and I still find that being on a trip away from them for more than 3 nights is just hard. The first few nights are like a honeymoon from the work of being at home (cleaning, cooking, packing school lunches, chauffering, etc.) but then I miss them terribly. So I never travel on weekends unless I absolutely have to. I’ll take a red-eye or whatever I need to do to make sure I leave no earlier than Monday morning and return no later than Friday night.

    Also, when your child begins to talk, until he/she is in middle school he/she will always sound younger on the phone than in person. It can be a little heart-wrenching, be warned. And when they’re quite young it’s usually harder on them if they talk with you when you’re away than if they don’t…no matter how much you want to hear their little voices!

  6. I second (and third) others’ comments – it’s both hard and a good break from the baby. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s *very* hard, I only made one day trip while breastfeeding, and gave it up shortly after (for other reasons) but that one day was almost torture.

    Everyone told me I’d really miss my baby – but I was *so* happy to get away from her for a break (and still am!). She’s currently in the very clingy stage (~18mths) and you wouldn’t believe how happy I am to get away from the house, stay up later than usual, and otherwise be alone. On anything more than 2-3 night trips, I do miss her, but I think the break is good for both of us.

    I felt guilty leaving her alone with my husband the first few times, but he’s built up his own support system at home that can help when I’m away and I try not to feel so bad.

  7. Oh my goodness I wish I had read these comments when I was first travelling after my daughter was born! I travel internationally for about a week out of every month and have since my daughter was about 4 months old. Oh, and I’m a single mom. As others said, the pumping was extremely difficult, but worth it to keep the supply up. It was much, much harder when she was younger before she could talk – and I totally agree that she sounded younger on the phone, which freaked me out a bit at first!

    She will be five this week, and now doesn’t know any different; mom always has work trips and she stays with one of two of my amazing friends who trade off keeping her. Both of these friends have kids, too, so my daughter feels like she is having an extended sleep over.

    As others have said, the first 3 days are sort of great… for both of us. By day 4 or 5, we are both missing each other and ready for me to be home.

    It’s hard. It doesn’t get any easier. But my daughter definitely thinks of international travel as a normal, regular occurrence and for that I’m grateful!

  8. I’m returning to work in January after having my first baby. I have a job thats about 50% overnight travel. Usually I’m on 3-4 nights a week for a couple weeks straight, then home for a couple weeks. I have quite a bit of anxiety about returning to work and overnight travel but my husband can handle it. As soon as I go back, I will traveling overnight, so I can’t even transition, although my husband is taking 5-6 weeks off when I go back. I’m looking for a new job, and I’m the bread-winner so I can’t just up and stay home. I’m a federal employee and as you all have seen, the feds are a nightmare and alot of jobs are not being filled or are being cancelled after being advertised. For you road warriors out there, how do you handle being away from home for 3-4 nights a week?

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